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Kitten's Joy offspring give Ramseys three Grade 1 wins Saturday
By Marty McGee
Arlington Park race-caller John G. Dooley was marveling Saturday evening at how owner-breeders Ken and Sarah Ramsey had dominated the international competition on the Arlington Million card, the biggest day of the year in Chicago racing.
“I should have told the crowd the Europeans have had a good day, and so has the red and white,” said Dooley, a sly reference to the familiar Ramsey colors. “The Americans didn’t need the blue.”
Indeed, it was an unforgettable day for 74-year-old Ken Ramsey, who was on hand with many of his family members at Arlington to witness the victories by Real Solution (by disqualification) in the Grade 1 Million and Admiral Kitten in the Grade 1 Secretariat. Just 20 minutes before the Secretariat, the Ramseys also won the Grade 1 Sword Dancer at Saratoga with Big Blue Kitten.
Ramsey said Monday afternoon from his Nicholasville, Ky., farm that he was “still on the highest cloud there is.”
“They say a blind hog can find an acorn once in a while, but three acorns is quite a feast,” he said. “My family and I are enjoying this as much as anything we’ve ever done in racing, maybe even more than the Dubai World Cup,” which they won in 2005 with Roses In May.
Perhaps what is most remarkable about their rare trio of Grade 1 events in one day was that the Ramseys not only bred all three horses, but each was sired by their stallion Kitten’s Joy, the 2004 Eclipse-winning turf champion whose final start ended with a runner-up finish and career-ending injury in the 2005 Million.
“Kitten’s Joy has exceeded all expectations,” Ramsey said. “He’s got five Grade 1 winners this year and he’s on top of the general sire list. It’s something I never expected, so we’re over the moon with it.”
Ramsey said he claimed the dams of all three Saturday winners: Spent Gold (dam of Big Blue Kitten) for $50,000, and Reachinforthestars (Admiral Kitten) and Reachfortheheavens (Real Solution) for $25,000 each.
“My farm manager [Mark Partridge] woke me up to that fact,” he said. “That’s something else if you ask me.”
In all, 14 Ramsey horses were in action Saturday at four North American tracks, accounting for four wins and more than $1.3 million in earnings. After the three Grade 1 wins, a fourth was still in the offing with the uncoupled duo of Emotional Kitten and favored Kitten’s Dumplings in the Del Mar Oaks at Del Mar, but the fillies finished third and fourth, respectively.
“Kitten’s Dumplings didn’t exactly get the best of trips,” Ramsey said. “But our cup was overrunning by then, so you can’t be upset about it.”
Ramsey said his wife, Sarah – whom he calls Kathern – had been at Saratoga with him for three weeks until early last week and did not feel up to attending Arlington on Saturday, “so she stayed here at the farm with one of my sons, and I went up with the rest of the family,” he said. Sarah Ramsey has been debilitated by a stroke she suffered in 2007.
The Ramseys are enjoying a spectacular year as owners. They topped the standings at the prestigious Gulfstream winter meet before shattering records at the Keeneland and Churchill Downs spring meets, and they lead the standings at Saratoga.
“We’re seeing how long we can keep this streak going,” he said. “At Saratoga, they’ve claimed a whole bunch from us. They’re going tooth-and-toenail at us.”
Ramsey is further heartened by their second-place standing (behind only Adena Springs) among American breeders in earnings this year.
“That’s all pretty much from one stallion – Kitten’s Joy,” he said.
Kitten’s Joy stood for $50,000 this year, but “I’m sure we’ll raise his stud fee to $75,000, maybe more,” he said, adding that no decision will be made until after the Breeders’ Cup in early November.
Known for his back-slapping, hee-hawing, country-grown demeanor, Ramsey was asked when his feats would be sufficient for him to be invited to become a member of the Jockey Club.
“I’m just an old businessman who got his start in real estate,” he laughed. “I’m content with what I am.”
Are Kitten's Joy and Smart Strike the only two horses to sire three GI winners on the same day?
Gotta love the sporting nature of this group. They ship everywhere, not afraid to run their horses in big races, and get the job done. I wish there were more out there like Ken & Sarah. Keep up the great work!
Why did I get a strange feeling that the Ramseys may shortly receive a lucrative offer from the Middle East to acquire Kitten's Joy? That's all we need is to lose one of our current day greats to the sheiks or to the Pacific
REALLY? do you guys believe in THIS CHARADE of GRADE i after GRADE I? Do you guys believe THAT? My fellow horsemen - you are doomed to disappear as a group...
Kittens Joy - El Prado - Saddlers Wells - Northern Dancer
Congratulations to the Ramey's for an outstandinding achievement by their homebreds. Kudos to who ever claimed those mares. Just goes to show you can still get into to class pedigree's for a modest investment. Go Kittens Go!
invited to become a member of the Jockey Club ?..........a lot of people gotta finally get paid before that ever happens.
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